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Matrox DualHead2Go Analog Edition Review

Matrox DualHead2Go Analog Edition Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Matrox DualHead2Go Analog Edition is a device that enables multi-display functionality from mainstream laptops or desktop PCs.
 83% Rating:   
Filed under: Monitors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Matrox Nov 25 2005   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Monitors > Matrox DualHead2Go

DVD Playback?

The next question we wanted to answer is how DVD playback reacts to the Matrox DualHead2Go? It's a lot of 'monitor' after all, so why not take advantage of it! While the DualHead2Go is clearly not designed to support 3D gaming experiences, it handles DVD playback just fine.

There are a couple quirks inherent to watching a DVD movie on a screen effectively having a shape that is twice as wide as it is high. For starters, the DVD screen automatically centers between the two displays when it is maximized. In tests limited to PowerDVD software, it was also evident that a DVD movie doesn't necessarily react too kindly to having its the aspect ratio completely ignored either.

Having done just that to enlarge the image into the full screen (2560x1024), resulted in a line by line misalignment of about 10 pixels of the movie - adjacent desktop icons and menus and such were completely unaffected. With 'keep aspect ratio' toggled on, the DVD picture regained cohesiveness.

Lag and Load?

Another point of consideration is whether or not the Matrox DualHead2Go will add any extra load onto the PC subsystem or otherwise slow the computer down.

Generally speaking, since the graphics processing is completely handled by the notebooks' onboard videocard, the DualHead2Go device isn't going to have any effect in and of itself. Attempts were made to benchmark the Toshiba Tecra M3 notebook with some office productivity benchmarks to compare single screen versus dual screen performance. However, this failed because the benchmarks were not capable of spanning over the secondary monitor during the test phase.

Running through spreadsheets and multiple windows didn't cause any noticeable slowdowns, but judging by the increased speed of the notebook cooling solution, the Geforce Go 6200 TE was working a little harder to output 2560x1024.

The only application were we found a noticeable difference with was Adobe Acrobat. To fill twin 1280x1024 screens full screen with a PDF document requires that the document be enlarged by about 400%. The image rendering time was visibly slow with a complex line graphic, but such was the case with the same document blown up to 400% on single screen as well.

Experts Tip: Adjust Monitor Colour Temperature

Every modern LCD or CRT monitor is going to have a panel in its On Screen Display (OSD) menu that allows a user to change the colour temperature of the display. These colour settings are measured in degrees Kelvin, and there are typically three values to choose from: 5000°K, 6500°K and 9300°K. Each colour temperature relates to the type of lighting that exists where the monitor is being used, but on average 6500°K is the most ideal colour temperature to select. When two or more monitors are put side-to-side, it is important to ensure that all displays have the colour temperature setting, or one picture might look extra-blue while the next looks too red. If this happens to be the case, check the monitor settings first to be sure it is configured for 6500°K before fiddling around with videocard's software colour correction options. Following this quick little tip will ensure your multi-display set up looks its best.

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Conclusions

The inner workings of the Matrox DualHead2Go are pretty simple. The device essentially just manipulates a monitor signal from the host PC that is twice as wide horizontally. The graphics adapter in the laptop handles all the processing, and so the DualHead2Go has no adverse affect on picture quality, speed, or CPU load.

Dual Display Capability for a Notebook

Matrox's DualHead2Go Analog Edition is a unique product that bridges the feature gap which previously separated office PCs from office notebooks in one very specific respect. What the DualHead2Go does is allow users with compatible integrated graphics chipsets the possibility of connecting multiple displays to their notebook computer. In that respect, this device isn't for everyone.

It's hardware compatibility is good for recent mobile video chipsets, but it's not universal. In our own tests, driver versions also appear to influence how well the unit behaves. That said, there are certainly going to be professional users who have been waiting for something like the Matrox DualHead2Go, and they may very well embrace this technology which addresses the lack of multi-display options for laptop computers.

As notebooks continue to improve their market share in both corporate and educational environments, employees and students transition away from the static desktop systems of old. Increasingly powerful notebooks are being used for gaming, and for computer aided design (CAD), accounting, graphic design, business presentations, and any number of other tasks; so why not incorporate some multi-display functionality in there too?

Most likely the Matrox DualHead2Go will find a welcome place in the dusty pile of cables that clutter the home and office desks of keen IT workers. It's a clever solution to a simple problem, and does its task well. The Matrox DualHead2Go is available from the usual online retailers, and directly from Matrox for about $169USD.

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< Previous Page © 2017 PCSTATS.com Monitors News»

 

Contents of Article: Matrox DualHead2Go
 Pg 1.  Matrox DualHead2Go Analog Edition Review
 Pg 2.  The DualHead2Go Device and Software
 Pg 3.  Sample Images - Spanning and Cloning
 Pg 4.  Installation and Setup
 Pg 5.  — DVD Playback?

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